Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dr. Christina Aquino Binag

Grants in Nanotechnology

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Grant Proposal 2006 by Dr. Christina Aquino Binag



The development of nanoparticle-based technologies for applications in soil and groundwater cleanup, water and wastewater treatment and chemical processing has been stirring the interest of researchers. Various reports have appeared on the use of variety of nanoparticles for treatment and remediation of pollutants in the environment.

Metal nanoparticles have been utilized to address these different environmental problems. Endosulfan, which is one of the most common pesticides in developing countries, was detected and extracted from water samples using gold nanoparticles (Nair et al., 2003). The transport of these organic contaminants down the soil profile constitutes a serious threat to the quality of groundwater (Strynar et al., 2003). Conventional methods for in situ remediation of chlorinated organic solvents, such as tricholrethylene, tend to produce undesirable byproducts, such as dichloroethylenes and vinyl chloride. Using nanoscale metallic particles eliminate all the undesirable byproducts (Elliott and Zhang, 2001; Wang and Zhang, 1997). Similarly, Strynar and co-workers (2003) investigated metals like zero-valent iron, Ni-Fe and Pd-Fe for their ability to reduce chlorinated solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) and dinitroaniline herbicide trifluralin into simple carbon compounds that are far less toxic. Kanel and others (2005) also investigated nanoscale zero-valent iron for the removal of Arsenic(III) in groundwater. The use of organic fluorescence nanoparticle sensor from Chromium(VI) quantification in wastewater was developed by Wang and co-workers (2004).

These metal nanoparticles are not only some 10 to 1000 times more reactive than conventional metal powders, because their smaller size collectively gives them a much larger surface area, but they can be suspended in a slurry and pumped into the heart of a contaminated site like an industrial-scale hypodermic injection. Once there, the particles will flow along with the groundwater to work their decontamination in place.

This work on nanoparticles for treatment and remediation of pollutants in the environment is as useful for promoting contaminant transformation and eliminating undesirable products. This work deals with the synthesis of metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly for extracting and eliminating pollutants in groundwater.



This research project aims to develop metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly for detection, treatment and remediation of pollutants in groundwater.

Specifically, the study aims to synthesize metal nanoparticles or fabricate nanoparticles assembly. Characterization of these nanoparticles will utilize surface analytical techniques like Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM with EDX), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).


This proposed project on Environmental Science is both quantitative and qualitative. This work will involve laboratory experiments that will be divided into three phases, namely:

Phase 1. Synthesis of metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly
This phase will involve the optimization of the different parameters and conditions to synthesize the metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly using prepared laboratory solutions and reagents. This phase will be the longest phase of the project.

Phase 2. Characterization of metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly
Different instrumental techniques will be utilized to investigate the morphology and surface properties of these nanoparticles.

Phase 3. Analysis of real samples using metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly
The synthesized metal nanoparticles or nanoparticles assembly will be evaluated using real environmental samples, e.g. contaminated groundwater samples.

The researcher is equipped with proper training in the fabrication assembly of sensors (please refer to the Papers Published and Papers Presented in the Curriculum Vitae). This work on nanoparticles is new to her. But, two of her current graduate students are working on synthesis of nanorods and nanowires of conducting polymers, thus, giving her the initial experience on nanotechnology (please refer to the List of Research Papers and Studies Completed in the Curriculum Vitae).

The researcher also applied for a UNESCO-funded training on Advanced Workshop on Recent Developments in Inorganic Materials this January 2006. This deals on nanomaterials, inorganic materials for catalytic and environmental applications, biomaterials and advances in


characterization of materials. If given the opportunity to undergo this workshop before the grant, then, I would be more equipped to investigate this project.


Pollution has long been recognized as a serious threat to both local and global environments and to our quality of life. The development of new technologies that enable industrial economies without harming human health and the environment is of critical importance in this time.

Detecting and treating existing contaminants and preventing new pollution are among the challenges facing environmental scientists in the world. With nanotechnology entering in the environmental arena, this offers great promise for delivering new and improved environmental technologies. Nanotechnology in my university has not yet taken roots, maybe because of lack of training in this field and experts to start the research work. This aspect of the work will open new and vast areas of research for any scholar. This experience on nanoparticles with environmental application will definitely cascade to my research group, and to the graduate and undergraduate students.

This study is also important for the country since environmental remediation will be improved by the removal of contaminants from air, water supplies and soil to levels currently unattainable.

Evaluation and Dissemination

One of the possible outputs from this research scholarship is a published article. The researcher plans to publish the results of the work in a refereed journal. Upon her return she will share the experiences and the research work through a lecture seminar in her home university. The annual Philippine Chemistry Congress is also a possible venue to disseminate the work done to her colleagues in the chemical and environmental fields. There are good avenues to share this research work with my colleagues in the government and private institutions, like the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (please refer to the Curriculum Vitae on Other Professional Involvement).


Justification for Residence in the United States for the Proposed Project

The research work can be done locally, here in the Philippines. But at the moment, we do not have the expertise in the field of nanoparticles for environmental application.

My initial e-mail communication with Prof. Thomas E. Mallouk of the Pennsylvania State University proved promising with his assurance that my stay in his research laboratory will be productive and of mutual benefit.

This opportunity to work with Prof. Mallouk and his group on metal nanoparticles will definitely be productive in terms of research output and Filipino students doing research in this exciting discipline in the Philippines.


The research work will be done from March 2007 to July 2007.

Phase 1 of the work on Synthesis of metal nanoparticles will be done for 2 months (March & April).
Phase 2 of the study on Characterization of metal nanoparticles would cover 1.5 months (May to middle of June).
The last phase, Phase 3 on the Analysis of real samples will take the last 1.5 months (middle of June to July).

English Proficiency

English had been the language from the very start in school setting. I took the TOEFL years ago (~1989) and I did pass the English examination.

I believe that I have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, as well as excellently competent in reading.


There will be no samples to bring to the United States for analysis.


Research Bibliography

Elliott D.W. and Zhang W.X., Environ. Sci. Technol., 35, 4922-4926 (2001).

Kanel S.R., Manning B., Charlet L. and Choi H., “Removal of Arsenic(III) from Groundwater by Nanoscale Zero-Valent Iron”, Environ. Sci. Technol., 39 (5), 1291-1298 (2005).

Nair A.S., Tom R.T. and Pradeep T., “Detection and Extraction of Endosulfan by Metal Nanoparticles”, J. Environ. Monit., 5 (2), 363-365 (2003).

Schrick B., Hydutsky B.W., Blough J.L. and Mallouk T.E., “Delivery Vehicles for Zero-Valent Metal Nanoparticles in Soil and Groundwater”, Chem. Mater., 16, 2187-2193 (2004).

Strynar M.J., Schrick B., Will B.N., Dec J. and Mallouk T.E., “Using Zero-Valent Metal Nanoparticles to Remediate Organic Contaminants”, Presented at 225th American Chemical Society National meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 2003.

Wang L., Wang L., Xia T., Dong L., Bian G. and Chen H., “Direct Fluorescence Quantitation of Chromium(VI) in Wastewater with Organic Nanoparticles Sensor”, Anal. Sci., 20 (7), 1012-1017 (2004).

Wang C. and Zhang, W.X., Environ. Sci. Technol., 31, 2154-2156 (1997).

Posted by Florence T. Cua-Christman at 2:14 PM


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About Me

Dr. Florence Cua-Christman, MS3, PhD, I am the sponsor of Dr. Christina Aquino Binag for her Fulbright Scholarship handled by Philippine American Education Foundation(PAEF) at the Pennsylvania State University with Dr. Thomas Mallouk. after the word employment add 1-9 and that include chronicle for higher education 1-20, job circle 1-7, ecoemploy, and Rutgers Employment http:// place after nanotechnology 1-24 replace 1 with 2,3,4,5,6


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